How does Facebook run so smoothly?
“Part of empowering people to make the choice is to trust them to make good choices based on those priorities.
“You’re trying to find that perfect intersection, which is something that’s really important to the company and that you’re really good at and really passionate about. Finding that intersection means that you’re going to be really good at your job and produce really great results.”
Facebook works on a philosophy of hacker culture, which means small teams that can work fast and respond rapidly, allowing the site to add new features at a fast pace.
“I’m humbled by the people I work with every day. The great joy of my job is that I always aim to be the least smart person in the room and to surround myself with people who are much more capable and intelligent than I am,” Schroepfer says.
“It’s incredibly humbling to do it, and I really love the people I work with. I love what I do and I believe deeply in the products we’re building. Hopefully, that comes through in the work that I do.”
Staff are also encouraged to take part in cross-company all-night coding events, known as hackathons. Some of the site’s major changes – timeline, chat and tagging in comments – came out of these sessions.
But while these tweaks and changes are aimed at making the Facebook experience better for users, they aren’t always seen that way.
The introduction of Timeline, for example, caused a storm of protest among users who wanted their profile to revert to the previous version. It’s a common scenario; the introduction of the “ticker” to the news feed last year caused similar consternation among some users.
“The end goal is always the same, which is to build a better product for people,” says Schroepfer. “The transition can sometimes be challenging for everyone, and it’s not something we enjoy when we see people upset by the transition, even if we know that the end point is a good one. We work hard to ease that as much as we can.”
The changes in how the site now works has had some unintended consequences for users, with tweaks to privacy settings leading some of them to unwittingly reveal information to audiences.
One allegation that Facebook had levelled at it in recent months was that the site was publishing old private messages on users’ walls. Facebook still insists, however, that there is no way that this could happen; rather, the company has repeatedly said it is old wall posts that are suddenly more visible thanks to the Timeline feature.